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SK Group backs startups in co-prosperity model

All News 14:23 April 04, 2016

SEOUL, April 4 (Yonhap) -- Min Jae-myoung, a 28-year-old entrepreneur, has capitalized on the SK Group's efforts to promote mutual prosperity with venture firms.

His startup, Andromeda, rolled out the audio advertisement app Adring two weeks ago, as SK Telecom Co. transferred the related patents.

Adring allows users to get money or other rewards for listening to commercial messages for five seconds while waiting for a call.

Known as a "money-making" app, it has become one of the most popular apps on the Google Play store, with nearly 100,000 downloads as of March 30.

Andromeda has already received seven contract offers from large companies and government agencies.

Adring's success would not have been possible without SK Telecom, which had the "ring-back tone" patents on advertising during call waiting time.

The major mobile service carrier struggled to commercialize the service.

Min contacted SK Telecom in July last year through the "technology-business market" run by Daejeon Creative Economy Center. He received nine relevant patents from it for free.

"SK and the Daejeon center offered a lot of support in the development and production process, not just the patent transfer but also help in drawing the investment necessary for the development of the service," he said.

Cremotech, another local venture firm, has also benefited from SK Telecom's patent transfer to emerge as an exporter.

The two sides have teamed up with each other for the manufacturing of a "smart beam laser projector." SK has also provided Cremotech with its sales networks and marketing assistance.

Cremotech reaped 7.5 billion won (US$6.5 million) in sales at home and abroad last year alone, 6 billion won of which was made via SK's sales routes.

"It's a successful co-prosperity example because it's not easy for a new venture firm to record 7.5 billion won in sales," an industry source said.

In a similar case, SK hynix, a leading chipmaker, supported the development of Gearbit, a smart wearable device based on its semiconductor technology.

Created by Park Ji-man, a former researcher at Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, it enables users to monitor their heart rate and body temperature in real time via near field communication.

SK hynix offered him technology advice and introduced some experts.

"We will continue to open our technology patents wider (to the public) if needed," Lee Jae-ho, head of the SK Group's Creative Economy Team, said. "We will play a role as a steppingstone for large companies to help the growth of small and medium-sized venture firms."

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